Residents of Belle Haven say signs aren’t enough to combat traffic headaches

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Menlo Park City Council last night (June 19) decided to put up “No Through Traffic” signs in the Belle Haven neighborhood as a response to residents’ outcry over steadily increasing traffic.

However, some Belle Haven residents want more to be done, and are frustrated that the signs are going up now, when traffic has been an issue in the area for a long time. “We don’t need more meetings, we need something to be done,” said Belle Haven resident Rose Bickerstaff.

Councilwoman Kirsten Keith said that the city’s Complete Streets Commission will be reviewing a “traffic calming” study for the neighborhood next month. Then the commission will make recommendations to the city council to enact.

‘We are never proactive’

But since May 2017, when this study began, more developments have either been approved or have been proposed to the city.

“We don’t need anymore housing over here. We have traffic now that we don’t know what to do with,” said Bickerstaff. “We are never proactive.”

Cecilia Taylor said that traffic in the Belle Haven has been bad for a while, and that the construction in the area, such as at Facebook’s Construction Drive campus, has exacerbated the issue. However, Taylor said, Belle Haven residents have been asking city officials for decades to reduce the traffic congestion in the Belle Haven.

Taylor’s mother, Pamela Jones, told the council that she taught her children, who grew up in the Belle Haven, to play “dodge car” to be sure they don’t get hit.

Vicky Robledo, another Belle Haven resident, said she sees kids weave through cars stopped in traffic in order to cross the street to get to school. She said it’s really only a matter of time until someone is seriously hurt.

Police traffic enforcement

Mayor Peter Ohtaki said he hopes the signs will bring some relief to the area, calling it a first step. He also asked Interim Police Chief Dave Bertini to step up patrols to keep people from cutting through the neighborhood.

Signs will be put up at six intersections:

• Independence Drive at Marsh Road
• Constitution Drive at Chrysler Drive
• Constitution Drive at Chilco Street
• Chilco Street at Terminal Avenue

Signs may also be added at the two following locations, depending on whether Assistant Public Works Director Nikki Nagaya’s employees can find an appropriate place for them:
• Bayfront Expressway at Chrysler Drive
• Bayfront Expressway at Chilco Street

A similar fix was done in November in the Willows neighborhood due to traffic caused by the construction at the Highway 101 and Willow Road interchange.